EU unveils plan for 'world's largest' ban on toxic chemicals

·1-min read

As many as 12,000 potentially toxic or harmful chemicals used in cosmetics, toys and even baby products could soon be banned in Europe.

A "restrictions roadmap" published by the European Commission on Monday was a first step in indicating which substances will become illegal in the coming years.

The document prioritises restrictions for the most harmful substances to human health and the environment, with many linked to infertility, cancer and other diseases.

Flame retardants, bisphenols and PVC plastics used to make bottles are to be banned by 2030 in the "biggest ever" regulatory removal of authorised chemicals, the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) estimated.

PFAs, known as “forever chemicals” because of the amount of time they take to break down, are also included.

The substances are widespread compounds found in many everyday objects including toys, nappies, shower curtains and cans.

“This ‘great detox’ promises to improve the safety of almost all manufactured products and rapidly lower the chemical intensity of our schools, homes and workplaces,” said EEB chemicals policy manager Tatiana Santos.

The list of restricted substances, to be classified in groups, will be reviewed regularly by the European Chemicals Agency.

An estimated 200,000 chemicals are used in the EU, three-quarters of which are considered hazardous.

European Commission polls show 84 percent of people are worried about the impact of chemicals of health, while 90 percent worry about their impact on the environment.

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